News

2020-01-07Thoughts on the LATAM market for 2020

Our man in South America, Simon Penchansky, Chief Operating Officer of Toweb, CentralNic’s biggest registrar in the region, give us his views on what 2020 will bring for the continent.

Three main variables guide the evolution of the Latin American domain name industry:

  • Ease of registering the local ccTLD
  • Perception that website creation is necessary and attainable
  • Number of user with a business to promote

The first two invariably improve over time, while the third is dependent on macroeconomic factors, which have currently created a favorable set of conditions for the industry.

To bring the above into focus, we can isolate a set of specific events set to occur in 2020, as well as data that offers tangible insight into the conditions to expect this coming year.

EFFECT OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Compared to their counterparts in the EU, Latin American workers are twice as likely to be self-employed or to operate a small business. That is to say, the marketplace is full of small actors fighting to gain exposure.

This trend predates the age of the Internet, but bears mentioning to establish the fact that the conditions are ripe for this region to exhibit a higher rate of “websites per capita” than other parts of the globe.

There is a newer trend that is discouraging for local economies, but which offers promise for the domain name industry. Unemployment and underemployment among the college-educated is on the rise. Unable to find work with established firms, this population is increasing turning to entrepreneurship.

As a result, businesses that launch in 2020 are more likely than ever to be led by persons with an appreciation for the importance of having a website and the skills necessary to register a domain and purchase ancillary products.

REGISTRY OPERATION CONTRACTS

At the outset of the previous decade, most Latin American ccTLD managers interacted with registrants via rudimentary web applications, or the submission of written forms. Today, more than half have developed a sophisticated backend system or selected an external operator.

The latter is of particular relevance for 2020, as a new contract will be awarded this year to operate arguably the region’s most important ccTLD. The Colombian IT Ministry has opened a tender process to operate .co, a license that key industry players are keen to win. Although the zone grown to over 2MM domains with Neustar at the helm, there is pervading sense that it has underperformed.

It would be wise to keep close watch on Argentina’s .ar, which operates on the FRED (CZNIC) backend, but whose frontend is a government-operated platform used for a diverse set of procedures (ex. filing tax returns, registering vehicles). This platform was a pet project of the previous government and is very unpopular among users. A President from the opposing political party took office in December 2019, which in Argentina tends to mean the cancellation of initiatives undertaken by the predecessor.

Odds are better than 50/50 that .ar will move onto a new platform in 2020. Considering that Argentina is the region’s third-largest economy and there are fewer than 400,000 domains in the zone, competent management could lead to a hundreds of thousands of new registrations.

SIMPLIFIED REGISTRATION PROCESSES

As alluded to in the previous section, the alternative to a ccTLD manager contracting a registry operator is to improve their in-house systems and procedures. While the former can produce overnight growth, the latter tends to be a slow progression from paperwork to EPP.

That is not to say that exponential growth is not possible without the aid of an industry-leading backend provider. ccTLDs where growth has been stifled by complex, multi-day registration processes can quickly double their size by merely making it possible to register a domain within a reasonable timeframe.

Registries do not necessarily need to scrap their existing platforms to accomplish this. For example, in 2019 Paraguay’s NIC PY simply eliminated a manual review process, while maintaining a high price and requiring payment via bank transfer.

In 2020, at least two more regional ccTLDs will be moving from multi-day fulfillment models to new systems that will allow same-day registration. Panama’s .pa will soon launch a new web interface and eliminate their review process and Bolivia’s .bo will begin allowing credit card payment.

Growth in these zones will be measured in tens, not hundreds of thousands of domains. Neverlthess, the trend is noteworthy as it shows registries moving in the right direction.

INVESTMENTS IN ADVERTISING

With saturation nearly achieved in Europe, North America and Asia, domain name marketing has begun to shift towards the immature markets of Latin America and Africa. Of these two regions, Latin America is of greater appeal, as connectivity and buying power have shown more positive trends than in Africa.

For the above, private entities have made investments in the region that could serve to bolster not only their own businesses, but also the industry as a whole. GoDaddy and Verisign have run television campaigns in Mexico and Brazil, with the latter considering an expansion of these campaigns into Colombia and Brazil.

In contrast other companies such as Wix that advertise heavily in the region, GoDaddy and Verisign center their campaigns not on specific products, but instead the notion that it is beneficial and not overly complicated for a small business to create a website. These are proven messages with a good probability of driving registrations in Latin America.

2020-01-06Maintenance work on February 29

We would like to announce the following RRPproxy system maintenance:

Saturday, February 29, 2020, from 08:00 - 13:00 UTC (09:00 - 14:00 CET)

You may expect the following:

  • DNS: Available - Domains will continue to resolve normally
  • vServer: Available - vServers will be reachable
  • API: Affected
  • EPP: Affected
  • Web interface: Affected
  • WHOIS: Affected
  • OT&E: Affected

Please excuse any inconvenience this may cause.

2020-01-01Maintenance of DNSSEC signer infrastructure, Jan 6

We would like to announce a maintenance of the DNSSEC signer infrastructure:

  • Monday, January 6, 2020 from 09:00 UTC and 15:00 UTC (10:00 UTC and 16:00 CET)

Signing new zones or changing existing DNSSEC signed zones may fail during the maintenance window. All other services are NOT affected.

You may expect the following:

  • Signing new zones or changing existing DNSSEC signed zones: Affected
  • DNS: Available - Domains will continue to resolve normally
  • vServer: Available - vServers will be reachable
  • API: Not affected
  • EPP: Not affected
  • Web interface: Not affected
  • WHOIS: Not affected
  • OT&E: Not affected

Please excuse any inconvenience this may cause.